The first Environmental Product Declarations in the Estonian precast concrete industry


OÜ TMB Element, the leading manufacturer of concrete elements in Estonia, is the first Estonian company to implement international Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its products – precast concrete elements. These are the first EPDs in Estonia issued for products of an Estonian company.

Environmental Product Declarations are used in green certificates and building life cycle assessments (LCAs). In construction projects, where a life cycle assessment of a building is mandatory, there are already situations, especially in Scandinavian countries, where building material producers cannot participate in the procurement without an EPD.

The method has been used in several countries for many years already, and several European countries have announced that it will be mandatory in the near future – in Norway and Sweden in 2022 and in Finland in 2024.

“With the implementation of Environmental Product Declarations, we will start measuring the CO2 footprint of our products and will also be able to start consciously reducing our carbon footprint,” said Urmas Paas, the technology and quality manager of OÜ TMB Element. “On the other hand, it will allow us to become more open and competitive in our export markets, especially in several of our neighboring countries, where the use of EPDs is becoming mandatory in the coming years,” Paas added.

“Product life cycle assessment is a standards-based (ISO 14040) analysis that assesses the environmental impacts of a product or service,” said LCA expert Anni Oviir. “The results of a product life cycle assessment are numerical, so different products are comparable with each other as long as they are assessed on the same basis.”

“The Environmental Product Declaration helps the user of the construction product to make more environmentally conscious choices by providing standardized and objective information on the environmental impacts of concrete elements,” said Kätlin Rahuelu, the environment and work safety specialist of OÜ TMB Element. “The purpose of the declaration is to provide transparent information on the environmental impact of a product throughout its whole life cycle, in accordance with international standards. The reliability of the data is guaranteed by an independent confirmation from a third party verifier,” Rahuelu added.

Anni Oviir: “A life cycle analysis of a construction product becomes an EPD after the results of the analysis are published on the platform of a qualified issuer and previously verified by an independent third party verifier, to make sure that the entire analysis is prepared correctly, according to the necessary standards.”

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a life cycle assessment, a voluntary and standardized way to reliably provide relevant, verified and comparable data on the environmental footprint of a manufactured product or family of products. The calculation covers the full environmental life cycle of the construction product, in addition to greenhouse gas emissions, it also provides other indicators affecting the environment, such as product recovery potential, use of fossil fuels, eutrophication and acidification potentials. All hazardous materials contained in a product must also be included in the EPD. Hazardous waste from production or demolition are calculated from indicators. The environmental impacts reflected in the EPD are presented in easily comparable product units, such as cubic meters or tonnes.

The Environmental Product Declarations of OÜ TMB Element’s products can be viewed on the website of the issuer of the EPDs, RTS EPD (Finland):

OÜ TMB Element (founded in 1961) is Estonia’s leading manufacturer of concrete elements. The company’s turnover in 2019 was 20.9 million euros, of which 53% was exports. The company employs 160 people.

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